Although my research ranges widely, most of my published scholarship explores the way popular culture has shaped politics, economics, and values in the United States. This approach examines the deeper meanings and impacts of activities we often view as “just fun.”


Entertainment Nation, (Smithsonian: 2022)
–Lead editor of catalog for the Smithsonian’s first major long-term exhibition on the history of commercial entertainment. Featuring essays by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Billie Jean King, John Legend, Jill Lepore, Aasif Mandvi, and more.

They Will Have Their Game: Sporting Culture and the Making of the Early American Republic, 1760-1860 (Cornell: 2017).
–winner of the 2018 James Broussard Prize for Best First Book on U.S. History between 1776 and 1860, awarded by the Society of Historians of the Early American Republic

Selected Articles:
-“What History Tells Us About Supreme Court Nominations in Presidential Election Years,” Washington Post, 26 Oct. 2020

-“Don’t Be Surprised; Be an Ally: Better Security Planning for Virtual Programming,” American Alliance of Museums Blog, 9 Oct. 2020.

-“How Picturing the Boston Massacre Matters,” Smithsonian National Museum of American History Blog, 9 Apr. 2020.

-“Material Conclusions,” State of the Field Essay for Early American Material Culture Studies, Reviews in American History 47:1 (Mar. 2019), 3-11.

-“The Forgotten Origins of Politics in Sports,” Slate, 2 Jan. 2018.

-“At ‘Hamilton,’ Pence Meets Old-Time Rowdy Activist Theater,” Washington Post, 24 Nov. 2016.

-“The Manly Sport of American Politics, Or, How We Came to Call Elections ‘Races,’Common-Place 12:3 (Apr. 2012).

-“‘The Entreaties & Perswasions of Our Acquaintance’: Gambling and Networks in Early America,” Journal of the Early Republic 30:3 (Fall 2011), 599-638.

-“‘A Mutually Comprehensible World?’ Native Americans, Europeans, and Play in the Eighteenth-Century Mid-Atlantic,” American Indian Quarterly 26:1 (Spr. 2002), 67-93.

Full C.V.